Archive for the ‘Tahoe outdoors’ Category
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
Strap in and push yourself to a rewarding zip from tree-to-tree all summer long at Granlibakken Conference Center & Lodge.
California’s first Treetop Adventure Park — where ropes course meets zip line on steroids — takes thrill-seekers on an all-out adrenalin tour that puts agility, quick-thinking and stamina to the test. Granlibakken’s latest family-friendly outdoor adventure is among 30 similar parks nationwide. Some of the features include over 70 different tree platforms, 13 zip lines, a variety of bridges including a 120 foot suspension bridge and a highwire bike. There are 3 different courses for kids 4 and older and 5 different courses for adults. Once you go through the courses and determine the obstacles, you’ll want to do it again and again, testing yourself every step of the way.
The 120 foot suspension bridge is just one of the features you won't want to miss.
Designed with bursts of endurance and exhilaration in mind, guests climb into harnesses where they zip, climb, walk and maneuver their way across platforms spread out across Granlibakken’s towering pines. These obstacle courses offer varying degrees of skills and challenges, with the thrill of being several feet off the ground. The experience demands exercises in balance, pace and even team work as you encourage each other to plow through the challenging obstacles with the zip rides serving your ultimate rewards.
The park, set to launch June 22, will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. with the last tour beginning at 6 p.m. Sessions are good for 2.5 hours.
Thursday, April 12th, 2012
Photo courtesy Homewood Mountain Ski Resort.
Think Tahoe in winter and what comes to mind? Skiing at Heavenly? Casinos? Headliner shows?
Ah, but there is another Tahoe … less intense, gentler, slower and yes, more family friendly.
The thing about Tahoe is it’s never been 100 percent about skiing in winter (or hiking, kayaking, whatever in summer). In a way, Tahoe is a bit like Europe, where skiing is only a fraction of the experience with inns on the ski hills and long, leisurely lunches and so much more to do besides keep track of your vertical on your wrist GPS.
So … enter North Tahoe, which is oddly what folks call stuff along the west side of the lake. And Bleu Wave’s yacht ferry. And Homewood. And Granlibakken. And, well, yes, a very special kid-wow run at Alpine Meadows.
Ski Via Yacht
The start of all this was via a slick yacht-ski package started last season by Bleu Wave. We arrived at the dock in South Lake Tahoe to board the ferry, which is actually a rather upscale yacht, at 8 a.m. We were dressed for skiing. As we pulled away, we munched on breakfast, which was a decent continental affair … muffins, fruit, yogurt, hot chocolate, coffee. But the star of the morning was Lake Tahoe’s scenery. Jagged, snow capped mountains rose around us, reflected in the still dawn water of the deep blue lake.
An hour later, we pulled up at the foot … and I do mean very foot … of Homewood Mountain Ski Resort. The runs seem to spill down onto the beachfront. And actually, they do end just a hundred or so yards away from where you dock.
What's better than a cruise across Lake Tahoe to terrific ski venues?
Though we were transferring to stay on this side of the lake, others were there for the day package, which for $99, gets you a shuttle from your hotel, round trip ferry, lift ticket, and discount on lunch. And though Homewood might seem smallish compared to say, Heavenly, its 1,260 skiable acres and 1,650 vertical, with everything from beginner runs to expert trees, provides more than enough fun for a day.
Nearly every run offers a spectacular view of Lake Tahoe. Photo courtesy Homewood Mountain Resort.
The stunning lake views are what sets this place apart. You’re so busy gawking, it’s almost dangerous. The dropoff along Rainbow Ridge just after Mid Mountain Pavilion (it’s the white tube tent with the picnic chairs) will blow your mind. A friend once said the drop on some of Tahoe’s lake view runs make you think you need to wear a life jacket. This is one of those places.
There are hefty plans for expansion. Some half a billion dollars of condos, base lodges, restaurants and lifts are expected to stretch to 2020. But meanwhile, Homewood is nice and laid back for a day of something different.
Our lodging was at Granlibakken, a resort that meanders up a thickly wooded hill with 200 hotel and condo rooms and a main lodge that reminds you of those family-owned resorts of the Northeast where generations would spend their holidays. The name, by the way, is Norwegian for “a hillside sheltered by fir trees,” and ski history in this area goes back nearly 100 years.
This is about as family friendly as it comes. There’s a small ski hill (300 vertical with two poma lifts), swimming pool, trails through the woods and a treetop adventure with rope bridges and platforms.
From Granlibakken, we day skied at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. Squaw has the reputation, the Olympic history, and the crowds. Alpine Meadows has Hot Wheels Gully.
Don't get carried away by the incredible views while skiing the runs at Homewood Mountain Resort. Photo courtesy Homewood Mountain Resort.
If you are on the west side of the lake you, of course, have to ski Squaw. This is where the big guys go, along with enough waist high future racers to make your head swim. While the Lake Tahoe area has dreams of a new Olympic bid for 2022, it’s interesting to remember a bit about the original one in 1960.
The Olympic venue back then wasn’t supposed to be in Squaw Valley, but while the Olympic committee argued over which European ski hill should be the spot, Alex Cushing, owner of what there was of Squaw, pointed out that maybe, since the Olympics were supposed to be a ‘world’ activity, it was time to hold them in North America.
Those Olympics included an amazing list of firsts … first use of instant replay (courtesy of grainy videotape), first use of skis that weren’t all wood, first athlete’s village, first really blow-out opening ceremony. (Walt Disney, himself, designed it with Disneyland-style statues and fireworks much to the whining from Europeans). Oh yes, and first sale of exclusive broadcast rights … to CBS for $50,000m which led to a young, new hire Walter Cronkite at CBS hosting it.
For those with inquiring minds, London’s 2012 Olympic broadcast rights went to NBC for $1.1 billion … that’s with a B.
Alpine Meadows: Hot Wheels Gully
Okay, now on to Alpine Meadows. It’s smaller than Squaw, a bit more intimate, but definitely one of Lake Tahoe’s ‘big seven’ ski resorts, which include Heavenly, Northstar, Squaw, Alpine Meadows, Mt. Rose, Sierra at Tahoe, and Kirkwood Meadows.
You can get hairy chutes and mellow groomers just about anywhere in the Tahoe area. But only Alpine Meadows has Hot Wheels Gully.
No matter how old (or young) you are, you can learn to ski at Tahoe's GranlibakkenLodge. Photo courtesy Granlibakken Lodge.
I was leaving the base area at the end of the day when a 10-year-old bounced by me, calling to his father.
“We skied the funnest thing of my whole, entire life. The FUNNEST!” he yelled while literally jumping up and down (in skis).
It was called … Hot Wheels Gully!”
The run traces a narrow riverbed that twists and drops through the forest … not for anyone on long skis and, honestly, best enjoyed by someone about 4 1/2 feet tall. You slingshot from side to side like in a mini halfpipe and, at one point, actually hit a short drop. It is, honestly, a pre-teen’s dream run.
Dinner is a pleasure in the main lodge at Granlibakken. Photo by Granlibakken Lodge.
The week we were in Tahoe, it was hot and sunny. Perfect spring skiing. But snow was on the way and within a couple of days, four feet of fresh had fallen. Sigh. We figured we’ll just have to go back.
If you want a true giggle on the mountain at Alpine Meadows or Squaw Valley and you have either an iPhone or Android phone, go to your online market and download the free interactive apps for those two resorts. It’s more than just a map, it even shows you where you are on the mountain along with a real time list of what trails are open, where the restaurants are, weather, real-time webcams, some amazing thing that lets you find your friends on the hill and, best of all, a real time record of your own personal stats (speed, vertical, lifts and more). You need to activate your GPS and, as I found out the hard way, if you turn your GPS off at the end of the day to save battery, your personal stats will reset to zero. Just don’t try looking at it WHILE skiing.
– by Yvette Cardozo, RFT Ski Editor
Check out Yvette’s favorite Tahoe after-ski snack, West Shore Café and Inn’s Mushrooms with Dipping Sauce.
Thursday, March 8th, 2012
Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge will host 16 snowsports journalists and guests this weekend to showcase the region and provide attendees an authentic flavor for the area, its residents and the activities that make Lake Tahoe a leading
Following a five-day conference at Tahoe South, which includes skiing, concerts, dinners and a cruise on Lake Tahoe, the travel and ski journalists representing national magazines, newspapers, websites, blogs and social media outlets will tour the West Shore of Lake Tahoe and three ski resorts as part of a post trip of the North American Snowsports Journalist Association National Conference. The event designed to generate significant editorial coverage for the area as a leading winter destination.
Jessica Kunzer of Ski Utah poses with the Travelocity gnome on an après cruise on Lake Tahoe.
Members attending this conference represent the Associated Press, SKI Magazine, Snow.com, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, Examiner.com, 7×7 Magazine, San Jose Mercury News, LA Daily Breeze, Contra Costa Times, Trenton (New Jersey) Times and NJ.com.
“The West Shore of Lake Tahoe and our world class ski resorts provide for the perfect cap on the NASJA conference,” said Kay Williams, general manager of Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge. “Journalists will learn about the significant changes underway here to share with readers throughout the country.”
In addition to overall destination stories, conference attendees will be provided updates on major plans at Homewood Mountain Resort and capital improvement at Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
The West Shore post-trip of the NASJA National Conference includes land, lake and air. Attendees will take the Tahoe Bleu Wave yacht from South Shore, arriving at Homewood Mountain Resort for a tour and skiing. An opening night reception will include an overview presentation of the area and a welcome from the evening’s sponsors. The journalists will ski at Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics on Saturday with a visit to Alpine Meadows on Sunday.
Established in 1963, first as the United States Ski Writers Association, the North American Snowsports Journalists Association is a professional group of more than 250 writers, authors, photographers, filmmakers and broadcasters who report ski- and snowboard-related news, information and features throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico, via the various media. Corporate members include media contacts or employees of ski/snowboard-related businesses, such as resorts, convention and visitor associations, equipment and clothing manufacturers, or any others who have a commercial interest in the journalistic coverage of those sports.
Thursday, October 13th, 2011
Even though the weather is still in the 60s and 70s (in fact record highs today) ski season is around the corner with area resorts anticipating opening in a little over a month. Whether you ski 5-10 days a season of 40 + you’ll likely be sore the first few times you hit the slopes.
Keep in mind we’re not health experts, but here’s a few tips to help you before strapping on those skis and snowboards this season.
Here’s a few of my favorite exercises/stretches:
Core Performance recommends training session that combines lower body strength-boosting moves, power exercises and drills to solidify your hips, torso and shoulders. This helps to build strength and speed for the mountain while carving up a more flexible body, and one that’s more resilient to injury.
Did you know that we’re located near several of the top resorts in the country, including Squaw Valley USA, Northstar-at-Tahoe and local favorites like Alpine and Homewood. We have array of ski/stay packages (of course includes our delicious hot daily breakfast and transportation to several of the resorts) – rates will be available soon.
What’s your favorite pre-ski season exercise? Do you prefer to ski or snowboard?
Thursday, September 15th, 2011
Leave the men at home weekend…
As part of Granlibakken’s commitment to health & wellness, the annual Lake Tahoe Women’s Wellness Weekend – a long standing community event in Tahoe City- will now be hosted by the resort November 12-13. The event fuses Eastern tradition with Western practices to offer a balanced weekend of information, inspiration, activities, food & wine.
Hosting events is Granlibakken’s forte. The schedule for the Women’s Wellness Weekend starts with optional exercise activities including a 5k fun run or 1 mile nature walk through the perimeter of Granlibakken’s hillside forest. I love running in the fall when it’s cool, you don’t get overheated and seeing the Autumn leaves – it’s beautiful.
Breakfast is followed by an opening “jump-start” talk by respected Psychologist Amy Vail. Seminars on Saturday include breast health, environmental health, nutrition, healthy aging and empowering exercise activities (optional). Choose between Ki Gong, a form of gentle exercise using breathing, posture and meditation: Restorative Yoga, Or a special class ref: Astrology/Health. Lunch is provided and flows into further talks throughout the afternoon. Saturday evening finishes with wine and shopping. Go for a new experience and have your astrological chart read by Robert Ayres (additional charge).
Festivities on Sunday include optional exercise classes of Cross-fit, Pilates and yoga with discussion classes and a health fair. Enjoy breakfast followed by classes on finances for your future, acupuncture, chiropractic and skin care. The afternoon includes an interactive health fair including gait analysis, makeup artists, body fat testing, skin screenings, mani & pedi stations and much more. Blood lab readings are available and must be signed up for in advance (additional charge). For the adventurous women attend the Zumba Party Sunday afternoon.
Registration is only $99.00. To register, please visit Granlibakken’s homepage and click “make a reservation.” Click “conference” and use the information: “www” as your login and password.
Grab a girlfriend and stay for $138.50/person double occupancy per person per night (rate includes conference fee).
So who’s going to join me this weekend? What aspect are you most interested in learning? I’m intrigued by Astrology/Health and love Zumba classes!
Monday, January 3rd, 2011
It’s often hard to have fun when you’re the one behind the video camera. While you’re adjusting your camera’s settings and angles, juggling to keep your hands warm and operate the controls, your friends and family are skiing, sledding and throwing snowballs.
But there’s a solution to your dilemma: Try out a hands-free video camera! With a high-definition ContourHD or ContourGPS video camera rental from Tahoe Mountain Sports in Kings Beach, you can ski, sled and throw all the snowballs you want, all while filming. The small, lightweight camera attaches to your helmet, goggles or vehicle to capture full high-definition footage.
The Tahoe Mountain Sports rental plan runs $40-$45 for a 24-hour helmet camera rental. Plus, you get a 4 GB memory stick and USB reader so you can take your footage home to view, edit and save.
And, on another note, if you’re in town this first week of January, don’t miss the upcoming:
NATIONAL WINTER TRAILS DAY, Saturday January 8, 2011, 10am-2pm, at Tahoe Meadows off Mount Rose Highway
Us gear-heads at Tahoe Mountain Sports will be out with a full demo fleet of MSR snowshoes, Kahtoola snowshoes and more. Plus the Tahoe Rim Trail will host guided hikes, provide avalanche info, teach you how to build snow shelters and stage a snowman building contest. Free treats and hot drinks from Whole Foods and Starbucks, too, so you don’t want to miss the fun on this day. Bring along your helmet camera rental to film your winning snowman being built!
This post is brought to you by Tahoe Mountain Sports in Kings Beach, on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. Stop by while you’re in town, or visit us anytime online!
Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
Did you get a taste of Tahoe’s big November snowstorm? We at Tahoe Mountain Sports made the cold-hardy Granlibakken Vikings proud by getting out and playing in the deep stuff.
We headed just a few miles from Granlibakken on Tahoe’s West Shore, where the snow is always the deepest… our tracks had us breaking snow up to our thighs! Black Diamond skis were definitely the tools of choice and the Black Diamond Megawatt made its earliest season debut in years. Enjoy this photo from the Lake Tahoe backcountry, and come enjoy the snow yourself! It will just keep coming down in December.
This post is excerpted from the Tahoe Mountain Sports Blog. Check it out for more photos and video! And shop Tahoe Mountain Sports in Kings Beach while you’re here, and online anytime, anywhere – we ship to more than 100 countries worldwide.
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010
Granlibakken’s is inviting all beginner skiers and boarders to our historic ski hill on December 11th and 12th for the 11th Annual Learn to Ski & Board Weekend. For just $25, you’ll get an all-day beginner lift ticket, group lesson and gear rental. And with over six feet of fresh snow (and more on the way!), conditions couldn’t be better. And in the company of other beginners and great hands of our expert instructors, you couldn’t ask for a better “first” skiing or boarding experience. Come early to reserve your spot.
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
Mother Nature knew that school was out this week for the Thanksgiving holiday. Unfortunately for parents, kids aren’t sleeping in. Awakened by the sound of plows followed by the quiet of snow, kids are clamoring to make that first snowman of the season and get out their sleds.
With over six feet of new, fluffy snow coating our historic hill (and more on the way), Granlibakken’s sled hill is officially open for the season. The new snow has made this Thanksgiving one of our most memorable in years! In addition to a home cooked dinner and the company of friends and family, visitors can look forward to the laughter that only comes from being bundled up from head to toe spinning down fresh white powder in a fluorescent green saucer.
6 feet of fresh snow welcomes you to Granlibakken's Sled Hill!
Snow "experts" testing out Granlibakken's Sled Hill for the season.
Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
Greetings Granlibakken! Lis at Tahoe Mountain Sports here, and I’ll be bringing you exclusive peeks at Tahoe gear, adventures and events through the lens of our Kings Beach store, just a few miles around the lake from Granlibakken.
For our first post, we want to introduce you to some of the new gear that’s arriving for winter 2010-11. Though you can’t quite use these snowshoes or skis yet, it’s never to early to think about your Tahoe trip, or what you want to do and what you’ll need when you get here.
Despite the fact that they remained virtually unchanged for the past 15 years, MSR snowshoes have always been considered at the forefront of snowshoe design. They’re lightweight, weather-proof and extremely portable. But MSR upped the ante this fall, unveiling a whole line of fresh-faced snowshoes. For beginners or those who want a basic, no-frills snowshoe, we have the Evo base model, a top quality yet affordable model that integrates frame and deck.
For those a little more serious about trekking in the snow, we have MSR’s higher-end Lightning models, crafted with 7,000-grade Boeing aluminum frames. The Lightning Axis models have the Axis Gait Efficiency binding system to ensure a parallel stride, no matter your natural toe-in or toe-out stance. If you’re one of those snowshoers who is constantly clanking around, these are the snowshoes for you!
SNOWSHOEING IN TAHOE, What Shoes to Wear and What Size to Use
One of the most common mistakes novice snowshoers make is assuming they need to wear big, burly, waterproof boots. One pound of weight on the foot when snowshoeing is equal to 5 to 6 pounds on your back, so the lighter you can keep it down there the better. Wearing a waterproof, low-profile shoe or lightweight boot is your best option.
When you’re choosing your snowshoe length, also remember that weight ratio, and buy the smallest-length snowshoe for your weight. If you always snowshoe with a pack, or a kid on your back, total the combined weight for the best-fitting snowshoe. When in doubt or on the cusp, downsize. You can always add on the flotation tails (now available for every model) to accommodate for weight gains and deeper snow.
K2 SKIS & POLES
Skiing is Tahoe’s #1 pastime in winter. If you’re coming here to take some turns, check out the latest in stock from K2. True to our style, we went with skis from K2′s Adventure Series: the K2 COOMBAck, the K2 SideStash and the K2 GotBack, all which have all-terrain rockered tips. Stop by the shop or click through the links to our website to learn more, but in short, the COOMBAck and women’s specific GotBack are backcountry machines, built lightweight yet burly for big mountain, self-propelled charging. A bonus for buying? K2 has an Alaska heli-ski trip drawing going for anyone who purchases their backcountry skis.
You know a ski is great when the sales rep skis it. That’s the case with the K2 SideStash, also the choice of our hard goods manager, Kevin, this season. For the more descent-oriented skier who charges hard inbounds, but wants the option to take a few runs in the backcountry, the Sidestash is gonna be a big seller for us.
We’re also carrying 3 different K2 poles, the most robust of which is the K2 LockJaw Carbon/Aluminum Pole. Think of it as a James Bond-worthy ski pole: it not only serves its main ski pole function but doubles as a backup probe, inclinometer and snow depth ruler.
See you out in the snow soon!
This post is excerpted from the Tahoe Mountain Sports Blog. Check it out for more photos and video! And shop Tahoe Mountain Sports in Kings Beach while you’re here, and online anytime, anywhere – we ship to more than 100 countries worldwide!